Angelica (Angelica archangelica)

Angelica Summary

Angelica seeds are a common ingredient in alcoholic beverages including chartreuse and gin for their aromatic nature.

Both the roots and seeds are used as medicine.

Angelica roots and seeds are both potent antispasmodics, and are useful in treating mucle cramping and period pains. They're also bitter, making them useful for stimulating digestion.

One of the best uses for angelica though are for its antibacterial actions. In the times of the black plague, angelica was said to have been brought to humans by an angel as a cure, hence the botanical name Angelica archangelica.

angelica archangelica
 

+ Indications

  • Loss of appetite
  • Peptic discomfort
  • Mild spasms of the GIT
  • Flatulence
  • Coughs
  • Colds/Flus
  • Pleurisy
  • Wind
  • Colic
  • Rheumatism
  • Urinary system disorders
  • Fever
  • Specific for typhoid (roots)
  • Epilepsy
  • Menstrual irregularities

+ Contraindications

  • Pregnancy and lactation

Herbal Actions:

  • Antispasmodic
  • Carminative
  • Cholagogue
  • Bitter
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticancer
 

What Is Angelica Used For?

Muscle cramps, period pains, indigestion, bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract.

 

Traditional Uses

+ Traditional Chinese Medicine:

Drains the yin, awakens the appetite, invigorates the spleen, stomach, and intestines, and dispels mucous damp conditions [9]. It is as such beneficial in all yin excess conditions, such as cold, damp, and phlegm congestion in the lungs, intestines, and uterus [9, 12].

 

Herb Details

Weekly Dose

Part Used

Seeds, root, essential oil, leaves

Family Name

Apiaceae

Distribution

Throughout Europe, Northern India

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Constituents of Interest

  • Angelic acid
  • Valeric acid
  • Angelicin

Common Names

  • Angelica
  • Chorak

CYP450

  • Unknown

Quality

  • Warm

Pregnancy

  • Unknown

Taste

  • Bitter, Aromatic

Duration of Use

  • Long term use is acceptable
 

Botanical Information

There are 30 species of Angelica. The most commonly used are Angelica sinensis (Dong Quai), and Angelica archangelica.

The Apiaceae family of plants, under which Angelica is contained, consists of 3700 species distributed into 434 genera. It's the 16th largest family of flowering plants.

Angelica is a biennial (or perennial) herb, that can grow up to 2m in height [9].

 

Habitat Ecology, and Distribution

Angelica archangelica is commonly cultivated on a large scale in Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Hungary, and northern India [10].

 

Harvesting Collection, and Preparation

After harvesting or acquiring fresh Angelica roots, they should be dried rapidly and stored in air tight containers. Here they will store for many years. [3]. The preferred age of the roots before harvesting and use is 2 years or less. Older roots is considered inferior and lacks the peppery top note often desired from the younger root but can still be used medicinally. [9].

Alcohol should be used to extract the medicinal components rather than water [3].

The essential oil is obtained from the roots via steam distillation.

The stems of Angelica are popular when candied. [3].

 

Pharmacology & Medical Research

+ Anticonvulsant

Studies done investigating the essential oil of Angelica archangelica found that it exhibits significant anti-seizure activity against chemically and electrically induced convulsions in mice [8].

 

PhytoChemistry

+ Full List

  • Volatile oil (roots) (1%) [9]
  • pentadecanolide
  • tridecanolide
  • rho-cymen-8-ol
  • alpha-bisabolene
  • bornyl cryptone
  • copaene
  • terpinolene
  • p-cmene
  • trans-ocimene
  • cis-ocimene
  • beta-phellandrene
  • limonene
  • myrecene
  • alpha-phellandrene
  • sabinene
  • camphene
  • alpha-pinene
  • Hydroxymyristic acid (seeds)
  • Methyl-ethylacetic acid (seeds)
  • Terbangelene
  • Valeric acid
  • Angelic acid
  • Sugar
  • A bitter pronciple
  • Resin
  • Angelicin
  • Sterols
  • Phenolic acids
  • Fatty acids
  • Coumarins
  • Furanocoumarins
  • Sugars
  • Tannins
 

Clinical Applications Of Angelica:

Angelica seed is effective for treating convulsions due to seizures, period cramps, and mucle cramping. The antibacterial profile of this plant has not yet been confirmed fully.

 

Cautions:

Angelica is suggested by traditional medical texts to be a uterine stimulant and should not be used during pregnancy.

The furanocoumarin content can cause phototoxicity in the skin, avoid angelica if high sun exposure is to be expected.

 

Synergy

Commonly mixed with Juniper for their similar flavours in such preparations as gin [3].

 
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Angelica Extract

Herb Pharm

made from Angelica archangelica root

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Dried Angelica Root

Starwest Botanicals

Made from dried Angelica archangelica root

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Author:

Justin Cooke, BHSc

The Sunlight Experiment

(Updated November 2018)

 

Recent Blog Posts:

References:

  1. Salikhova RA, Poroshenko GG. (1995). Antimutagenic properties of Angelica archangelica L. Vestn Ross Akad Med Nauk. 1:58-61.

  2. Khayyal MT, el-Ghazaly MA, Kenawy SA, Seif-el-Nasr M, Mahran LG, Kafafi YA. (2001). Antiulcerogenic effect of some gastrointestinally acting plant extracts and their combination. Arzneimittelforschung 51:545-53.

  3. A Modern Herbal. (1931). Angelica. Retrieved from http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/anegl037.html

  4. Yeh ML, Liu CF, Huang CL, Huang TC. (2003). Hepatoprotective effect of Angelica archangelica in chronically ethanol-treated mice. Pharmacology 68:70-3.

  5. Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Gudbjarnason S. (2004). Antiproliferative effect of Angelica archangelica fruits. Z Naturforsch [C] 59:523-7.

  6. Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Hallgrimsson J, Gudbjarnason S. (2005). Antitumour activity of Angelica archangelica leaf extract. In Vivo. 19:191-4.

  7. Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Gudhjarnason S. (2005). The cytotoxic effect of two chemotypes of essential oils from the fruits of Angelica archangelica L. Anticancer Res. 25B:1877-80.

  8. Shalini Pathak, M. Wanjari, S. Jain and M. Tripathi. (2010). Evaluation of antiseizure activity of essential oil from roots of Angelica archangelica Linn. in mice. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 72(3).

  9. Battaglia, S. (2003). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (2nd ed.). Brisbane, Australia: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy. (Pg 160-162)

  10. Arctander S. (1994). Perfume and flavour materials of natural origin, Allured publishing, USA.

  11. Grieve M. (1931). A modern herbal. Penguin Publishing, England.

  12. Holmes P. (1989). The energetics of western herbs Vol 1. Artemis press, USA.